Inspiring Leaders

Steering wheel

Do you know a leader who inspires you? If you do, great! If you don’t, you might want to read on.

Growing up in Vienna at a privileged period of reflective analysis about historical facts and lessons learned from the past, the word “leader” didn’t feel like an inspiration. It felt like a threat. Masses of people identifying and projecting themselves into one person and in doing so empowering them to even greater power is something I still consider highly problematic.

Growing older, I made new experiences and I came across role models and teachers. They taught me skills and helped me persevere in mastering them, but I didn’t see them as leaders.

I continued looking for leaders, gurus, masters, someone who knows “the way” someone to help me find “my way”. The truth is that I didn’t find that personality and eventually it dawned on me that I was chasing a mirage.

My new insight made me feel alone and this loneliness made me feel sad and heavy. It didn’t inspire me to move forward and my aspirations felt impossible.

So I started my search again until I made the discovery that my quest needed a different solution. I realised that inspirational leadership isn’t about one specific person for me but about sharing values and a mind set with others.

I realise that my approach will not work for everyone to help them find direction and a feeling of purpose, but it works for me.

In the end speech that Charlie Chaplin created in the movie “The Great Dictator” he gives an example of the kind of leadership that I mean.

And you can find it in both, the fictitious character giving the speech and the person behind the role who created it.

It is the display of personal values, the capacity to materialise them and the courage to share them which are inspirational for me. His words truly “shine a light”.

The last words of the speech performed by Charlie Chaplin in his role as the little barber mistakenly thought to be the great dictator Hynkel say:

Let us fight to free the world – to do away with national barriers – to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!

Let leaders inspire you to be a conscious and responsible leader for yourself.

A big thank you goes to Michael Gerharz and his original inspiration for the topic. Please check out to read more about leadership and making positive change happen.

Photo by Joseph Barrientos

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